Hiatus Kaiyote – Ocelot


Sometimes a really beautiful and musically talented friend will tell you to listen to a band that they know you’ll love, like really love, and sometimes, you space out and forget to do that for months. And then one day, you re-discover the band on accident and it just happens to be the same week that another really lovely friend tells you that they have an extra ticket for you to go see said band in a sold out show at the Knitting Factory on a Monday night.

I haven’t felt so lucky in a long time.

Hiatus Kaiyote hails from my favorite place that I’ve never been to — Australia. Nai Palm, the exquisite lead singer that I photographed above, stole my heart several times on Monday night, but I would be committing a crime if I said she was solely responsible. The entire band’s on-stage chemistry and truly deep rooted soul tactics boxed my heart far away. I wasn’t even expecting to have my heart stolen this week. Alas. 

My friend and I saw an opportunity to get closer to the stage shortly after we entered the packed venue, and as soon as we did, I felt that much more connected. A girl next to me grooved in the same rhythm as me for almost the entire set. A smile slowly crept up on my face and plastered itself there for the rest of the performance. The band brought out a couple of beautifully talented guest singers, who warranted an uproarious response from the crowd. One of the guest appearances was a man from France named Spleen. As he shuffled on stage with his hands held in front of his stomach shyly, Nai Palm asked us to welcome him with the Brooklyn warmth that she knew we had. I had no idea what to expect, and I’m glad because the surprise was incredible. Orchestrated belts and screams came out of this beautiful man’s mouth with the intensity of a punk rocker but the delicacy of a classical musician. He later came out on stage for the encore and proved to be one of the best hype men I’d ever seen, demanding the audience to scream louder and louder. And the encore itself was a magical moment where both the audience and the band were jamming together as one, audience led by the band and instructed to do specific vocals which matched the bands syncopated rhythms. 

The band was as in love with the audience as the audience was with them, and at one point in the performance, Nai Palm received the most heartwarming note from an audience member. She read it aloud, and while I can’t remember exactly what it said, the words followed the lines of poetry and warmth. Not only was it a praise for the band, but an expression of love for the music that they put out, begging the musicians to never stop.

Hiatus Kaiyote performed this song, Ocelot, and I think it was my favorite of the set. Coincidentally, it’s my favorite song on the album, and also the shortest. I wish it was longer, but it’s just enough to woo you in love with this band. They’ll be back in November and I urge you all to drop most of the important things you’re doing, and go see them perform live. Buy your tickets early though because they’ll be sold out again, guaranteed.

Hiatus Kaiyote – Ocelot